The Kansas City Chiefs have been fighting an unbelieving national narrative since the 2021 AFC Championship loss. They look to prove the doubters wrong in 2022.
The Kansas City Chiefs are no longer the loveable underdogs on the national stage. Now, they are the juggernaut to be defeated, the team standing in the way of a flash-in-the-pan Cinderella team. After the Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Chiefs in the 2021 AFC Championship game, pundits and talking heads latched onto the Chiefs’ downfall, predicting regression in 2022.
The Chiefs have become a more well-rounded team this offseason, at the expense of top-level talents like wide receiver Tyreek Hill and safety Tyrann Mathieu. A balanced approach makes long-term success more attainable, with more financial flexibility and deeper positional units.
CBS Sports NFL writer Jeff Kerr released his ceiling and floor for each NFL team ahead of the 2022 regular season games. Some franchises have very volatile differences, but Kerr respects the Chiefs’ changes this offseason.
Ceiling: 13-4, win Super Bowl
The Chiefs have Andy Reid as their head coach and Patrick Mahomes at quarterback. They’ve won 12 games and advanced to the conference championship game in every year the pair have been together. Why aren’t the Chiefs the team to beat in the AFC with this duo? … The Chiefs are talented once again. Seeing them play in February wouldn’t be a surprise.
Floor: 10-7, lose in divisional round
Kansas City has some issues to figure out at cornerback and running back, especially who lines up opposite McDuffie … The Chiefs do have holes that can keep them out of Super Bowl contention — and the AFC West will play a role in that. Kansas City is still — at worst — a playoff team.
Frankly, the floor and ceiling both feel realistic for the 2022 Chiefs. It is foolish to doubt head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Patrick Mahomes, especially since that pairing has already reached the NFL’s proverbial mountaintop. Plus, the loss of Hill is balanced with acquiring a deeper wide receiver corps via free agency and the draft. The Hill trade return helped jumpstart the defensive resurgence as well, with a lot of young, hungry talent set to contribute to the Chiefs in 2022.
On the other hand, the Chiefs’ deficiencies are noticeable. The team still lacks a lock-down corner, and that cost them in two matchups against the Bengals in 2021. L’Jarius Sneed, Rashad Fenton, and Trent McDuffie are a fine, but unspectacular, group right now. If one of those three falters, the Chiefs’ uphill climb gets a bit steeper. Furthermore, concerns about RB2 and defensive line depth may resurface in 2022 due to underperforming players, injuries, or both.
While Kerr’s plan is far from optimal, they at least respect the Cheifs and what they have done. No one knows what will happen on any given Sunday, but the Chiefs are built to at least make the playoffs in 2022. If all goes well, with newcomers gelling and improving the offense and defense, then the sky is the limit for the team from Kansas City.